"Moratorium Untuk Rakyat" Task Force Proposes 8 Improvements To Current Repayment Assistance Programme
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A task force comprising over 400 business associations and chambers of commerce has come up to propose wholesale changes to the current Targeted Repayment Assistance programme that it says isn’t enough to help businesses and the rakyat during the multiple movement control orders (MCO). Among others, the task force calls for a blanket moratorium with zero interest until 31 December 2021 or until Malaysia reaches herd immunity.

The task force, which by proxy represents 1 million businesses in Malaysia including self-employed and micro-SMEs, includes entities such as the Bumiputra Retailers Association Malaysia, the Federation of Malaysian Business Associations, Gerakan Ekonomi Malaysia, Malaysia Retailers Association, Movement For Monetary Justice Malaysia, and the SME Association of Malaysia. It states that the current Targeted Repayment Assistance that was proposed in the PEMERKASA+ stimulus package does not meet the needs of Malaysians, including businesses who are facing severe cash flow issues due to the MCO measures.

The task force believes that a “blanket zero interest opt-out moratorium” is possible due to the fact that the top 8 local banks recorded profits of RM93 billion in the last three years, and the group estimates that its blanket zero interest moratorium proposal would likely “cost” RM6.4 billion – or 7% of the 3-year profits mentioned above. Moreover, the task force stated that the banking industry should take a moral stand to help the country whose government bailed them out during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

In total, the task force has proposed eight parameters of improvement to the current repayment assistance programme under PEMERKASA+, and had sent a letter containing the proposal to the Prime Minister on 2 June. However, there was no response from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The eight parameters are:

Socio-Economic Denomination All Malaysians – must include all individual having a banking facility – including employers and employees from the public and private sector. This must be for B40 as well as everyone else who needs it – both M40 and all individuals having defaults, unable to keep good repayment schedules and individuals who are defaulting their credit commitments – no one has been spared in this COVID pandemic.
Businesses Must include all Malaysians businesses – small, mid-tier and even large companies – numbering more than 1 million Malaysian business entities, their 7.2 million employees in the private sector and the 3.9 million micro business owners and self-employed individuals.
Facilities All personal facilities must be included – overdrafts, housing loans, car loans, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages must be of any nature.
Period This moratorium must be from now until the 31st December 2021 or when we reach 80% herd immunity (when 26.5 Million Malaysians get vaccinated for COVID) – whichever comes later.
Interest Rate During Moratorium We seek Zero Interest Moratorium – the banks cannot and must not charge any direct or indirect/hidden cost for this moratorium period.
Credit & Leasing Facilities: Credit and Leasing Facilities must be included though they don’t come under MOF ambit – the last moratorium (during MCO 1.0) did not include this very fragile yet large group that have high financial exposure especially in industries that have yet to restart their operations e.g. tourism-related sectors.
Opt-Out System Those who don’t want to take part in the moratorium will need to opt-out (same as MCO 1.0) of the system.
Waiver All bank charges for this restructuring and rescheduling (R&R) exercise must be waived.

The task force hopes that with the increased awareness, it can seek an audience with the government and banking industry to create a repayment assistance programme that will help all Malaysians.

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